Monday, December 31, 2007

Banner year

Wow. Considering I just started knitting last November, I'd say I accomplished quite a bit in 2007. It's neat to see all the FOs up there in that mosaic. I can see a colour trend -- there's a lot of pink and turquoise, arguably my favourite colours.

In 2008, I plan to try colourwork (I have this in mind) and maybe even knit something for Jesse. Whenever I show him a pattern for something I think he might like, he scrunches up his face and shakes his head. But I recently found a hat that he has said he'd like to have and I can't tell you how excited I am. Finally, I may get the chance to knit him something!

Happy New Year and happy knitting to all.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Yarn binge

I've never had much of a stash. My "stash" mainly consists of a small Rubbermaid bin filled with bits of leftover yarn from past projects. My rule is to only buy yarn when I've finished a project and need something new to work on. That all changed after Christmas. Armed with $40 in gift certificates for Tangled Skeins in Dartmouth, I braved the freezing rain on December 27 to take full advantage of their Boxing Day sale.

I knew I wanted sock yarn and some yarn for a sweater for Phillip's birthday (he's outgrown the Trellis I made him, so, naturally, he needs a new sweater). Here's what I brought home with me:

Oceanwind Knits superwash merino in blu at 30 per cent off.

Artyarns Supermerino in colour #127 (it reminds me of watermelons), also at 30 per cent off.

Eight skeins of Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran in lime, again for 30 per cent off. I've already started knitting the Shawl Collar Sweater from Bliss' Essential Baby for Phillip.

As I was winding up my sock yarn, I spied some Noro Cash Iroha at 50 per cent off. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you see a pile of Cash Iroha? The Hourglass Sweater, of course. Seeing as I don't own a copy of Last Minute Knitted Gifts, I raced around looking for it at Tangled Skeins. I found a "store copy." I had a plan. I asked the kind clerk whether I'd be able to photocopy (I know, sacrilege!) the pattern if I bought eight skeins of Cash Iroha. She complied, and I ended up with yet another large bag of yarn!

Blogless Annie also added to my newfound stash by giving me two skeins of Manos in colour #114 (Bramble) for Christmas. I haven't yet decided if these will be mittens of a scarf. Even though it's been sort of overdone, I do like My So Called Scarf.

So, there it is. Now you know what's in my stash. I think it's time to pick up a bigger Rubbermaid bin.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Handmade gifts

Frenchy Sherrie and I had a little gift exchange yesterday. You can see what I made for her family here.

And what did I get?

The most perfect Christmas tree ornament for a knitter.

Some homemade vanilla (it's just a vanilla bean and some vodka. So simple!).

And some of Sherrie's soap (mint chocolate), a tiny grater and some nutmegs. What's weird is I just ran out of nutmeg this week and was planning to pick up another nut at the health food store yesterday. It's creepy how Sherrie can read my mind.

Thank you Sherrie for all the fun handmade gifts!

Monday, December 17, 2007


I finished all my Christmas knitting early last week.

The presents are all wrapped.

Our first ever full-sized, real tree is up.

And now I'm just relaxing, making some mindless moss stitch face cloths for myself. I am 100 per cent ready for Christmas.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Potpourri Post (cute "p" words)

I have a whole lot to tell you about, so I'm going to throw everything into this one post. Christmas is almost here and I'm too busy to break this up into several tidy, little posts. Here it goes.

First things first. Hand-knit socks + party shoes = a match made in heaven.

Yes, that's right folks. Once I let the sock yarn from hell mellow a bit, it gave me some pretty snazzy socks. Sure, they didn't end up striping evenly, but it's winter, it's snowing, it's cold and I need to warm my tootsies (especially when they're in party shoes rather than big, woolly boots). This is, of course, the Jaywalker pattern, knit up with Claudia Handpainted Yarn in chocolate cherry.

Next up, I fell madly in love with Noro this week. I spent two days knitting a couple of secret Christmas projects from two balls of Noro Kureyon #134. Wow. Could this stuff be any more beautiful? Seriously, Noro is to knitters as crack is to junkies.

After I told you about my blank moo greeting cards, I received a sweet note from a lovely moo employee named Daniel. He said they spotted the error shortly after sending the cards, so they were repirnted and reshipped right away. I got the new cards in the mail this week and they look quite sharp.

And see? My message is printed on the inside!

I also finished these wristers for Sherrie's Dad for Christmas. If you take a trip in the wayback machine, you'll see I knit him some wristers in February. Sherrie does a good job explaining what wristers are here.

And speaking of Sherrie, look what she gave me in exchange for the wristers!

Some of the sweetest smelling soap ever. It's minty and oh-so refreshing. Mmmmm. I could sniff this stuff all day.

She'll be opening an etsy shop soon, but if you hop on over to her blog, you might be able to snag some soap from a test batch at a rather substantial discount.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A little something special

Becky over at moonfrog is having a "little something special" contest for the holidays. She's asked bloggers to post a photo and a story about a special decoration that makes your holiday season special. Here's my entry!

When I was a student intern at The Herald in 2003, the first assignment I got was to write a story about an "interesting" crafter at the Dalplex Christmas Craft Market in Halifax. The assignment had been pawned off on me after all of the seasoned reporters pooh-poohed it as a lame holiday story. I didn't have the luxury of declining the assignment since I was the lowest on the totem pole, so I accepted. Lucky for me, I have a knack for making the most boring, eye-rolling story ideas into award-winning, front page stories (it's true! The only award I ever won was for a story with the headline, "1,000 cookies a day.").

Anyway, to make a long story short, I ended up interviewing Elizabeth Brown, an artist from Liverpool who saw "faces" in other people's woodpiles. She used her wood carving skills to bring those faces out and was selling her carvings at the craft market. The story didn't make the front page, but it did end up on page A3, above the fold. (click on the image to enlarge it and read the story.)

I went to the craft market on the day of publication and found Elizabeth Brown. She had picked up The Herald before setting up her shop that morning and she said several people had stopped into her booth after having read the story. She was so thrilled with what I had written that she gave me one of her old world Santa Christmas tree ornaments.

The ornament is still one of my favourites and I smile every time I see it. I usually keep it hanging around year-round as a reminder of how I was able to turn what could have been a really lame story into one that brought me compliments from those hard-ass reporters who wouldn't touch the assignment with a 10-foot pole.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Crafting day!

Yesterday, a bunch of us gals got together to spend an afternoon crafting for Christmas! Here's Sherrie working on some handmade cards.

Rebecca and Annie worked on some hand-knit gifts.

And I worked on a top secret project that kind of turned into a disaster. I'm not sure if it'll be a Christmas gift or not. It depends on how butt-ugly it is when it's finished.

We also indulged in some sweets!

I made this tart from November's Martha Stewart Living magazine. It was divine!

Friday, November 30, 2007

We are snowpeople. Take us to your freezer.

What's this cult of snowpeople that has invaded my kitchen floor?

Why, they're the Christmas cards that arrived in the mail from our good friends at moo!

I painted a special Christmas snowperson a few weeks ago and ordered a bunch of greeting cards. The only problem? The little elves at moo forgot to print "Merry Christmas/Joyeux Noël" on the inside of the cards. I sent an e-mail to moo to let them know, but I don't want to send these back because I'll never get the corrected version in time for Christmas. Oh well, I guess that's what happens when one tells machines to write in one's Christmas cards instead of the lovely pen strokes of the human hand.

And speaking of snowpeople, I've already sold a few through etsy! Thanks to everyone who ordered snowpeople and thanks to those who have e-mailed me with special requests for bigger snowpeople or custom snowpeople! You've made me oh-so happy!

I can't blog about most of the crafting activity that's been going on here chez "words starting with p" since much of it is secret, but I can tell you about this little baby set I made for yet another friend who had yet another boy.

This is the sweet baby cap and Sarrtje's bootees. Both great patterns that I will keep coming back to. (Anyone recognize the yarn? It's every last bit I had leftover from the clap!)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Get your own snowpeople print!

1. Shannon and Courtney, 2. Tim, 3. Mike, 4. Marc, 5. Jill, 6. Janesta, 7. Ingrid, 8. Amber

The snowpeople are up in the shop! Please stop by and have a look.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I apologize for the unexpected hiatus

Has it really been two weeks since my last post? It's hard to believe, and it's not because I lack things to blog about, I guess life just got in the way.

I've been working on a few secret, unbloggable Christmas presents, thanks to a lovely afternoon spent crafting at Sherrie's house. Since the coffee sleeve I made Jill went over so well, I decided to make a couple more. This time, I put experimental embroidery aside and tried out a little bit of appliqué. I think it went well.

I also tried a couple of different closures -- a button from Gramie's stash with a sewn loop from Ysolda's tutorial and a couple of snaps. I think the snaps are rather snappy (couldn't resist). I'm not sure who I'll give these sleeves to yet, but they might be Christmas presents.

And speaking of Christmas presents, I received my first early gift! My brother made me some steps for our back door. The steps that were there when we bought the house had almost become compost, they were so rotten. So, a big thank you goes out to Nigel for his handy skills!

Oh! and for you ravelers out there, you can see one of my secret knitting projects here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Little things

I have left my evil sock yarn to marinate while I think of another pattern that will suit it (some of you suggested Jaywalkers since they're similar to the Bordello socks but have more stitches and, while I have already knit a pair, I just might do that. However, I am still too angry with the yarn to cast on.).

In the meantime, I've been knitting some little things.

These are Saartje's Booties, knit up with leftover bits of yarn from the Hedgerow socks. They are ridiculously small. Are babies' feet really this small? I guess I am about to find out because one of my good friends just gave birth to a baby boy. His tootsies will be warmed by these tiny creations.

I also finished a secret knit. It's a Christmas present and the recipient reads this blog, so I'll just show you an extreme closeup. This person is not on Ravelry (and probably never will be), so all you ravelers can check out this FO here.

Since we're talking about little things, here are some other little things that I love:

-waking up and seeing that Jesse has cleaned the kitchen.
-early morning cuddles from a purring kitten.
-a big mug of hot tea on a cold day.
-an invitation to an afternoon of pre-Christmas crafting with some great friends.
-unexpected phone calls from people I love who live in three different provinces.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The curse of the evil sock yarn

After finishing the Hedgerow socks, I couldn't wait to dive into my chocolate cherry Claudia Handpainted Yarn.

First, I cast on for some Monkeys. I knit the ribbing, took a look at it and realized all of the chocolate was on one side and the cherry was on the other. (I wish I had taken a photo of the ugliness, but I'll leave it up to your imagination.)

Okay, so I need a pattern with more than 64 sts. So, I cast on for the Bordello socks (pattern comes with Fleece Artist Sea Wool) with 68 sts. It was striping nicely and I liked it.

I just went to try it on and guess what? It doesn't even fit my size 6.5 foot!

I am so frustrated! How can yarn be so lovely in the skein and turn out to be an evil bitch when knit up? Argh!

Friday, November 02, 2007

All of my hedges in a row

One day late. I finished the Hedgerow socks one day after the Socktoberfest deadline. Will you forgive me?

I logged a lot of knitting time yesterday. Jesse had his first chemo treatment (which went well, thank you for all of your kind notes!) and I knit through most of it. It took three hours, which was just long enough to finish my second sock.

Pattern: Hedgerow by Jane Cochran
Source: Knitter's Review

Materials: two hanks of Oceanwind Knits Merino in sweetgrass
Needles: US 1/2.25 mm bamboo dpns
Started: October 2007
Finished: November 1, 2007

Verdict: The yarn is very nice to work with. The squishy factor is high, especially when knit up in a fancy rib like this. I'm not sure if I'll keep these socks or not. I really like them, but I might throw them in the Christmas present pile.

I also whipped this up the other day. I will not try and pass the idea off as my own -- I shamelessly stole it from Erin.

Here's the button, from Mum's (can you believe we have two generations of button stashers in my family?) stash.

It's going to a good friend who's birthday is today.

I hope she likes it!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

What am I dressed as today? A turtle, of course!

I have dressed up as a turtle every Halloween since 1999. Why, you ask? Are you sitting in a comfy chair? Ready for a silly story? Good. Here it goes.

I was in my first year in university and my best friend, who was in Grade 12, came up to visit me for Halloween. She wanted to pick up some decorations and a costume at Value Village and, although I already had my strawberry costume, I went along with her.

While Courtney was off looking at festive trinkets, I was perusing the kids Halloween costumes. I found this adorable turtle costume marked "Ages 3-5" and picked it out for a closer look. It was meant to cover a child head to toe. I studied the costume for a moment and thought, "Hey! That would fit my tiny frame. I wonder what it would look like?" I didn't bother to remove the hanger from the costume, nor did I take off the cardboard label that covered the costume like a sandwich board. I slipped it over my head and squeezed into it. I walked over to a mirror to take a look at myself in the turtle suit. "Cute," I thought.

I strolled back over to the rack where I found the costume. I tried to pull it back over my head. Uh oh. It wouldn't budge. I started to panic. I ran over to Courtney. I told her I was stuck in this costume meant for toddlers. She laughed. I was not as amused. I asked her to help me pull the costume off, but she couldn't get it to budge either. I looked at price tag and it read $14.99. Shit. $14.99 is a lot of money for a student. Do you know how many boxes of Kraft Dinner $14.99 could buy? But I had to buy it. I couldn't take it off without destroying it.

You know where this is going, don't you? I walked up to the counter and told the cashier I had to buy the costume that I was wearing. She scanned it. I paid. When we got back to my dorm room, Courtney broke the plastic hanger in two and retrieved the pieces while I cut the cardboard label off the costume. Only then, could I pull the turtle suit back up over my head.

And that's why I've worn this costume for 8 years. I need to get my money's worth.

Of course, this story is only to distract you from the fact that I haven't finished my Socktoberfest socks. I guess I still could finish the second sock today, but, chances are, it'll have to wait until early November.

This is the Hedgerow sock pattern knit up with Oceanwind Knits Merino yarn in sweetgrass. I really like these socks.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Another FO: Urchin

First off, thank you so much for all of your comments on the cabled jumper (which I've taken to calling the "jumper cable" because it amuses me).

Just like most of North America, it has been unseasonably warm in Nova Scotia. However, I know the cold weather is just around the corner. And when those frigid temperatures wash over us, I will need a hat (remember how I had to sacrifice the Kittyville Hat?). That's why I picked up that skein of Manos del Uruguay wool when Annie and I visited Gaspereau Valley Fibres last weekend. I present to you one of the quickest knits I've ever completed.

Pattern: Urchin by Ysolda Teague
Source: knitty

Materials: less than one skein of Manos del Uruaguay 100 per cent wool in Natural
Needles: US 11/9 mm straight needles
Started: October 22, 2007
Finished: October 23, 2007

Modifications: I had to increase the needle size in order to get gauge and I'm still not sure my gauge was accurate. I knit the largest size and while my head isn't anywhere near large, the hat fits very well.

Verdict: Yummy. I love the way garter stitch looks with a slubby yarn like Manos.

And I think it's really neat that the hat looks like a sand dollar when it's laid flat (and, yes, that's Moustache's tail in the upper right corner).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

FO: Cabled jumper!

The straps were a lot easier and less tedious than I thought. Last night, after our trip to the Annapolis Valley, I finished sewing on the straps and the buttons. My Dad was kind enough to take some photos of the finished cable jumper this afternoon!

Pattern: DROPS Dress with shoulder straps
Source: Garnstudio

Materials: 4 skeins of Galway Irish Worsted Wool in colour #1080
Needles: US 8/5 mm and US 6/4 mm bamboo circs
Started: September 2007
Finished: October 2007

Modifications: Instead of knitting the cabled portion of the dress 45 cm long, I knit it about 55 cm long. I also used a different yarn than the pattern called for.

The buttons, as usual, are from my Gramie's stash. I had picked out buttons in three different sizes and brought them home to try out. The smallest ones seemed to fit best.

Verdict: I am SO in love with this jumper. It is the nicest thing I've knit yet. I think this is going to be my go-to outfit for the winter. It's so warm and very comfortable. It's a big winner.

Yay! I am a happy gal!